For SAD, religion, politics go hand in hand: Sukhbir Badal

Sukhbir said this while responding to the Congress’ charge that the Akali Dal mixes religion with politics.

punjab Updated: Jan 14, 2018 21:36 IST
Prabhjit Singh
Prabhjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Muktsar
SAD,Akali dal,Sukhbir Badal
SAD president and former deputy CM of Pujab, Sukhbir Singh Badal (left) and Punjab BJP president Vijay Sampla during SAD’s conference at the annual Maghi Mela in Muktsar on Sunday.(Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

Seeking people’s mandate for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal on Sunday justified the party’s panthic character, saying religion and politics go hand in hand for them.

Addressing his party’s conference at the annual Maghi Mela in Muktsar, Sukhbir said this while responding to the Congress’ charge that the Akali Dal mixes religion with politics.

“The two go together. Look at the Sikh history. This is 97-year-old party of the Sikhs,” he said.

This comes close on the heels of the ‘Jor mela’ at Fatehgarh Sahib last month when the SAD, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) , the ruling Congress and other parties could not hold conferences after the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, had banned such activities on the occasion.

The Akal Takht jathedar had made an appeal not to mix politics with religion on sacred occasions as these.

Pointing out the SAD stands by Sikh religious ethos, Sukhbir cited the concept of ‘miri piri’ (an amalgamation of religious and political wisdom) in the Sikh history that was announced and adapted by seventh Sikh master Guru Har Gobind

Sukhbir’s statement is in contrast with the SAD’s 1995 Moga declaration wherein it had proclaimed itself as a party of Punjabis and not of Akalis or Sikhs alone.

Seeks mandate on father’s legacy

Sukhbir, who took over the party’s reigns from his father Parkash Singh Badal during the last SAD-BJP government in the state, talked about the long innings the senior Badal played in Punjab politics and his bond with the people of Punjab.

“He (Parkash Singh Badal) and the elders in your families share a strong bond,” Sukhbir said, and counted the senior Badal’s contribution to state politics.

“We will avenge by winning all the 13 seats from the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

Sampla takes on Congress

Addressing the SAD rally, Union minister and Punjab Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Vijay Kumar Sampla counted what he called the achievements of the last Akali-BJP government. He slammed Amarinder Singh-led Congress government for not releasing of funds and grants under various welfare schemes like the ‘Shagun’ and old-age pension.

‘Cong’s repression like Mughal tyranny’

SAD leader Bikram Majithia accused the Congress of causing damage to the Sikh community time and again. “The Congress’ tyranny is not less than the Mughals’,” he said, citing the Operation Bluestar (the Army action against the Sikh militants at the Golden Temple) and the Sikh genocide in 1984.

Addressed the gathering, Lok Sabha member Prem Singh Chandumajra and former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur also justified the SAD’s religio-political event on the occasion.

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 21:34 IST